Check out the most recent Episode of the Dynamic Coaching Tools Podcast. We have an exciting lineup of guests and hope that you will learn a lot from these basketball conversations. This is one of the many tools that we are excited to use, as we work to GROW THE GAME!
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The FEATURED PLAY is “Point Flare,” which is a commonly used action by NBA teams, to attack a switching defense. The key is that the flare action, allows the screener to get below the switching defender. This makes for an easy slip to the rim.
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The 10th Annual Up North Challenge tips off on Friday Night, in Shepherd, Michigan. For this year’s event, we have decided to take one of the most exciting new concepts in basketball, and incorporate it into our tournament. You can learn more below.
If you are in love with the sport of basketball, you might have noticed an interesting basketball tournament that has taken place each of the last five summers. The event we are referring to simply goes by the name, “The Basketball Tournament (TBT),” and allows anyone the opportunity to compete for $2 million dollars.
One of the most recognizable things about The Basketball Tournament is the way that games end. Every game ends with a game winning basket, thanks to their “ELAM ENDING.”
No more deliberate fouling. Greater hope for late comebacks. Every game ends on a made shot.
— TBT (@thetournament) April 15, 2019
Per TBT’s website, “The concept was developed by Cincinnati Reds groundskeeper and Ball State professor Nick Elam. After logging hundreds of NBA and college games, he came to an obvious, yet profound conclusion: intentional fouling (a) doesn’t work and (b) is incredibly boring to watch. From there, he spent years trying to figure out a way to eliminate this archaic late-game ritual. It ultimately became the Elam Ending.”
At this year’s 10th Annual, Up North Challenge, we will introduce our own version of the “Elam Ending.” Thanks to the help of our friends at FastModel Sports, we will implement the “FASTMODEL FINISH!” The FastModel Finish rules are simple.
- If the game is within 20 points, at the first dead ball under 4 minutes, the FASTMODEL FINISH will go into effect.
- If it is over a 20 point margin, the clock will continue to run.
- If the lead is still 20+ points at the 2 minute mark, the game is over.
- If the FASTMODEL FINISH is in effect, at the first stoppage under 4 minutes, there will be a “30 second timeout.”
- During the timeout, the officials will write the “target score” on a dry erase board next to the court.
- TARGET SCORE = Leading team’s score +7
- When play resumes, the clock will be turned off, and the first team to hit the “target score” is the winner.
- EVERY GAME ENDS WITH A “GAME WINNING SHOT!”
While we can not take credit for the concept, we are excited to receive feedback from the 48 teams and coaches in the Up North Challenge. Nick Elam watched and catalogued literally thousands of NBA and March Madness games, and found that teams resort to intentional fouling roughly half the time. In the 2018 NCAA Tournament alone, teams in 44 of the 70 second halves/overtime periods tried to come back by purposefully fouling. However, according to Elam’s data, in only three of those 44 occasions did the trailing team eventually come back to tie the game or take the lead. Our “FastModel Finish” will hopefully improve the end of game situations, create more excitement for the players, and open the eyes of basketball coaches to some alternative ways to end a game. At the conclusion of the tournament, we will be sending out a google form, to request feedback from all 48 teams. Once we have that feedback, we will be sharing a blog post with FastModel Sports, and talk about the positives and negatives from the “FastModel Finish.”
The Up North Challenge and The Basketball Tournament have a small connection. Camp Darryl, a program started by Darryl Matthews, has played in all 10 Up North Challenge tournaments. An all-time great shooter, Travis Bader, played for Camp Darryl. Travis Bader played an important role in helping Overseas Elite win multiple “The Basketball Tournament” titles.
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There is no doubt that Draymond Green has played a critical role in the Golden State Warriors’ NBA Championships. He is a versatile player, who provides a level of toughness that compliments the Warriors’ explosive offensive attack. The one constant criticism of Draymond Green has been his emotional instability. A lot of people think of scenes like the one below, when they think of Draymond Green.
Draymond got a technical after disagreeing with this foul call: pic.twitter.com/MYxukvrAoQ
— ESPN (@espn) April 28, 2019
In Game 5, of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs, the Warriors seemed to be in serious trouble. Kevin Durant hurt his calf, and was expected to miss some serious time. Despite this set back, the Warriors responded by winning back-to-back games to eliminate the Houston Rockets, and took a commanding 3-0 lead over the Portland Trailblazers. During these games, Draymond Green has played some of his best basketball.
This is the Draymond from the 25-game winning streak 3 years ago… just incredible. Didn’t think he could get to this level anymore.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) May 19, 2019
One of the obvious adjustments that Draymond Green has made, other than increasing his aggressiveness offensively, has been his mental approach. After winning Game 3, Draymond talked about it.
Draymond’s playing with a different energy.
“I had got to the point where I was doing more crying than playing.” pic.twitter.com/4pOTg85bmk
— SLAM (@SLAMonline) May 19, 2019
Draymond Green has clearly taken a “control the controllables” approach to his game. Instead of majoring in the minor, he is choosing to focus his energy on helping his team win. This was most clear when he put his leadership on display, following a Jordan Bell missed dunk.
With Draymond Green’s focus being on winning 🏀 games, it allows him to provide mental stability and confidence to his teammates.
This is great leadership! #Leadership#GrowTheGame🏀 pic.twitter.com/x2w1c35bNt
— Doug Brotherton (@CoachBrotherton) May 19, 2019
In the post game, Draymond Green also displayed the importance of allowing other people to strengthen the influence of a leader. In this case, it was a message from the Warriors’ video coordinator. As the tweet below states, every person around a team has an impact on the group’s culture. The best cultures are “exclusively inclusive.” What that phrase means, is that each person must demonstrate the standards that are required to be a part of the team. Once they do that, then they deserve to have their voice respected, which allows the group to perform at their best.
Great Leaders 👀 what is going on around them, and 👂 what others have to 🗣. They encourage other voices, to strengthen their influence!
— Doug Brotherton (@CoachBrotherton) May 19, 2019
With Draymond Green demonstrating his ability to block out the distractions, and “control the controllables,” the Warriors are going to be tough to beat. This is a lesson that can be used with any team, as there is no escaping the threat of outside noise. Look for Draymond Green to continue to play at an elite level, as long as he can maintain this focused mentality.
It is becoming obvious that all Championship teams have a clear understanding of the importance of great leadership. This past year, we were able to see it across all levels of basketball.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP COACH:
WNBA CHAMPIONSHIP PLAYER:
NBA CHAMPIONSHIP COACH:
At the end of most seasons, coaches will talk about their leadership, and their season, in a similar tone. If leadership is an important factor in the success of a team, then why are coaches ignoring it? Here is one of the most ridiculous statements that you will hear from people about leadership:
“He/She is a born leader.”
Nobody is a “born leader.” People are a reflection of their experiences, the people around them, and their vision for the future. The purpose of this post is to challenge coaches to formulate a LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PLAN.
Here are five suggestions, to improve the leadership in your program:
- Start a group chat with your leaders.
- This sounds simple, but it can make a huge difference. This off-season, I used the GroupMe App to start a group chat with our Captains. In this chat, I constantly share leadership articles, quotes, and ask questions. This has created a clear understanding of my expectations, and allows me to control the messaging that our leaders are receiving. The questions allow for a better understanding of what our leaders know, and areas for growth and development.
- Launch a Leadership Development Program at your school:
- We had our first Leadership Development Program at our school this fall. We took our Athletics Department theme, and designed a program to spread this down to our student-athlete leaders. This included an introduction to our theme (Servant Leadership) from our Athletic Director, a college coaches panel, four break out sessions, and a varsity coaches panel. By the end of the program, we had a clear understanding of our standard, expectations, and how we could work with our athletes to ensure success.
- Spend an entire practice silent or only whispering:
- This idea was first put on display, years ago, by Geno Auriemma. He spent an entire practice whispering his instructions. This meant that the players had to listen, communicate, and execute. All coaches agree that the best teams are player led, and so it only makes sense for coaches to take a step back. Record the practice that you are quiet, and then watch it with your staff to learn about the leadership and communication dynamics of your team.
- Clearly communicate your expectations at your parent meeting:
- At the high school level, the most underrated aspect of the “buy-in” in your program is the parents. Programs who struggle are constantly complaining about the parents. In reality, the percentages tend to show that great players are driven by overly involved parents. If you embrace the power of these parents, and work to control the messaging, then it can work in your favor. If the parents understand what you are trying to accomplish, then they are more likely to express these things on the drive home.
- Your best tool is former players/leaders:
- The best tool that you have in your program are your former leaders. Those former players are going to be able to connect with your current leaders, in a different way. As coaches, we can not always get on the same level as our leaders. Our former players have the ability to do that, but once again, we can control the messaging. If you are not utilizing your former players, to help support your current leaders, then it is time to get started.
These are just five of the ideas that we recommend for coaches, as you try to develop leaders in your program. In six months, you are going to be talking about the leadership on your team. There is a strong chance that you will talk about your team, the same way that you discuss your leadership. Start pouring into those leaders now, so that you can maximize the potential of your current roster.
You can reach us for more information on Leadership Development by e-mailing us at:
You can also find us on Social Media: @DynamicCoaches
Coaches like Buzz Williams and Tom Izzo regularly reference the way that Football coaches do things. They also credit football coaches for making a positive impact on their programs. All basketball coaches should be looking around for great ideas, and other sports offer some opportunities to learn and grow. Below are three ideas, which basketball coaches should steal from their football programs.
1 – Script your first few possessions of the game
A great way to help your team find a rhythm offensively, is to script the first few half court possessions. The number of possessions is dependent on your teams ability to retain information and then execute. We like to script our first three possessions, as well as our first baseline out of bounds play. By scripting it, we are able to put our players into a comfortable position. We can select the set, based on something that we scouted on film. The players that are in a position to make a decision, or take a shot, have practiced that specific scenario the day before the game. This builds confidence. Furthermore, this is especially successful in hostile road environments, as you try to take the crowd out of the game.
2 – Put an Assistant Coach over both sides of the ball
As a Head Coach, one of the hardest things to do is to give up control. In reality, we need to recognize that we have all of the power, but no control at all. We can work on things, but it is up to our players to execute. We can ask our Assistant Coaches to be engaged, to buy in, and to help develop our team. Football coaches make the ultimate decisions, but they also hire an Offensive and Defensive Coordinator that they can trust. These Assistant Coaches play a major role in the success of the team. It also allows the Head Coach to focus on a specific side of the ball, without the other side feeling neglected. In practice, we might want to focus on the defensive side of the floor. Who is holding the offensive players accountable to do things the right way? Assigning an Assistant Coach to each side of the floor, will allow the Head Coach to focus on specific aspects of the team development, while also ensuring that nothing is neglected.
3 – Stress the importance of Special Teams
Football coaches make a huge deal about the impact the Special Teams have on the game. What are Special Teams in Basketball? We view Special Teams as baseline out of bounds plays and sideline out of bounds plays. Other coaches will add factors, such as points off of turnovers, second chance points, or free throws made. Simply using the out of bounds plays are very easy to track within the game. If your team is able to find an advantage within the “Special Teams,” it can be especially important in close games. Look back at last year’s numbers and see what impact the “Special Teams” had on your team.
For more ideas, feel free to contact us via e-mail INFO@dynamiccoachingtools.com
or on Social Media: @DynamicCoaching
After two highly competitive five game series, we now have our WNBA Finals match-up. Game 1 tips off tonight and features the Seattle Storm against the Washington Mystics. Coaches should be tuning in, as both teams run some tremendous stuff offensively. Below is a breakdown of three sets to look for, which have been highly successful for both teams. Thank you to Ben Dull, from SplitThePost.com for providing all of the videos for this preview.
Storm – Flex Action (BLOB set)
This BLOB set involves Bird setting a flex screen for Stewart, then receiving a down screen.
Storm – “Horns Down”
The Storm have different Horns looks, but this ball screen that flows into a down screen is tough to guard in transition.
Storm – Empty side / Two Man Action
The Storm love to include Stewart in a “two man game,” on an empty side. They use DHOs, ball screens, and slips.
Mystics “Stagger Split Rip”
This set shows a double stagger, before a split, into a rip (rescreen) for the back cutter. Great counter to a traditional double stagger!
Mystics – “Zipper 15”
The Mystics use a zipper cut, to trigger this backscreen action with Toliver and Delle Donne. This is just one of the ways that the Mystics use a backscreen to get the basketball inside.
Mystics – “Drag Back STS”
This set uses a drag screen and throw back, to set up the screen-the-screener. Toliver shows a screen for Delle Donne, before she actually receives the screen for an open three.
Two actions that will be critical for both teams to figure out are the two-man game, with Stewart on the empty side. The Storm lead the WNBA in three point shooting, and that action puts the defense in a scramble situation. The Storm must be ready to guard the screening actions involving Toliver and Delle Donne. They use back screens, ball screens, and screen the screener actions to free up both players.
This blog will be re-posted on www.FastModelSports.com, with all set plays being diagrammed and available for download in the playbank. Look for this repost before Game 3.
You can also catch our most recent Dynamic Coaching Tools Podcast by clicking here.
The WNBA Playoffs begin tonight, and coaches should take advantage of the learning opportunity these games will provide.
Coaches spend the off season looking for ways to develop, improve, and learn. What if I told you that you might be missing out on the best bargain in basketball!?! For only $16.99, you could watch some of the best coaches in the world 204 times?
Yes, WNBA League Pass is only $16.99 for the entire season – that’s just over eight cents per game for terrific basketball! While this option is available, too many coaches are not giving the WNBA the respect that it deserves. There are some tremendous XsOs being put on display in WNBA games. The action is uptempo, players are skilled, and more coaches should be tuning in. Furthermore, all coaches should be encouraging their players to watch WNBA basketball!
The WNBA Playoffs tip off tonight (8/21) with both first-round single eliminations games airing live on ESPN2 at 8:30 and 10:30 ET. The Finals will take place the first week of September. Check it out!
Below are some of my favorite plays from the WNBA regular season.
Click on a play to read full description and to download it to your FastDraw library.
The Dream have have scored multiple times using this wrinkle at the end of Floppy action. The weak side back screen has resulted in many layups, and the screen-the-screener pin down has also created open looks.
The Mercury ran this ATO to get a wide open three for the great Diana Taurasi. This has multiple options which makes it very difficult to guard. The pistol acton with a weak side flare is a nightmare for the help defenders.
The Mystics used this BLOB set to get Elena Delle Donne an uncontested game winning-three. The double stagger screen sets up a screen-the-screener action for a shot at the top of the key. This BLOB set has different looks and would be a nice addition to any coach’s baseline series.
The Sky are 3rd in the WNBA in 3PT FG%, and this set has resulted in numerous good looks. Even if it is guarded well, the action flows right into an invert ball screen, which is what happened in the clip below.
This play is named “Winner 2.0” because it is similar to the popular “Winner” set that Brad Stevens has used in the past. This set uses a zipper screen, to set up the back side flare and skip pass. The play has the screen for the shooter, and actually features a second screen (shooter was wide open in the clip).
This is just a small sample of some of the wonderful XsOs that have been put on display during the WNBA regular season. The WNBA Playoffs are going to be exciting and I urge coaches to tune in. If you have questions or are interested in more WNBA plays, you can contact Coach Doug Brotherton at: @CoachBrotherton
Also make sure to follow DYNAMIC COACHING TOOLS on Twitter: @DynamicCoaches
This article touches on one of the real challenges in coaching. How can coaches demand respect and accountability, when that environment is not mirrored in the world around the athletes? How does a coach establish reality, without damaging feelings? Here are some interesting numbers from the article.
“According to a 2016 NCAA survey, 76 percent of all Division I female athletes said they would like to go home to their moms and dads more often, and 64 percent said they communicate with their parents at least once a day, a number that rises to 73 percent among women’s basketball players. And nearly a third reported feeling overwhelmed.”
“At the same time, accompanying this anxiety, iGens have unrealistic expectations and exaggerated opinions of themselves. Nearly 60 percent of high school students say they expect to get a graduate degree — when just 9 to 10 percent actually will. And 47 percent of Division I women’s basketball players think it’s at least “somewhat likely” they will play professional or Olympic ball, but the reality? The WNBA drafts just 36 players, 0.9 percent.”
This is a fantastic article, which references this Geno Auriemma video, and also how Pat Summit would fit into modern day coaching.
CLICK HERE for the full article
The article by Dan Shaughnessy, “Basketball coaches are a society of borrowers,” talks about how coaches are constantly sharing and borrowing to make each other better. Here are my two favorite quotes from Brad Stevens:
“And I’ve always thought — and I got this from my boss at Butler — there’s not a monopoly of great coaches at any one level. It’s all over the map. I think that’s one of our responsibilities in coaching is to open our doors if people are interested in watching and talking about any of that stuff.’’
“I spend my whole offseason going to clinics,’’ the Celtics coach added. “Even when we plan something as a family on vacation, I try to figure out where coaches are in that area and go and stop by and pick their brains on what they are doing.”
The last sentence of the article sums it up:
The good coaches are the ones who never think they have the whole thing figured out.